Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wood Stocked Rifles

I'm not even pulling it out of the case but the next step at Camp Perry involves lots of old rifles with woodens stocks. I love my AR and can't be without it, (Obama and others, please note) Tomorrow afternoon we shoot the Springfield Match, 30 rounds at 200 yards with 5 sighting shots. 10 prone slow fire, 10 prone rapid fire and 10 standing. Last year I was 12th out of a thousand folks. Hope to shoot well this year.
Crawford was second place.
After that we shoot Garand, Vintage with the K31 and then an M1A Match. Did well in all of them last year and hope for more this go round.
Most of the field are folks who love to shoot but aren't particularly competitive. This still doesn't quench their happiness at being on a firing line with a REAL RIFLE. Some classics, some very beautifully maintained on the range. I'm looking forward to being in the crowd.

General Camp Notes

Posting this while Rick Crawford, TSRA Service Rifle Director stones a Garand trigger at the end of the table. Garand Match is Saturday. Tomorrow is Infantry Trophy Team Match with AR15s and then Springfield 1903 match. I found some stripper clips for the 1903 at Champions Shooters Supply. The trigger weight guys in the CMP armorers trailer had a 1903 Springfield C stock, (stock with pistol grip) that they say is going to be sold by the CMP, soon. It was beautiful.
Rick is working on the trigger from a Garand that Karl Schultz bought at the CMP North Store.
They have partially come to their senses about security here. After 911 they were checking the Driver's license of everyone coming in the base. Truckloads of heavily armed men pouring in the main gate at dawn, but we want to see all their IDs. Now they are just waving at us as we drive in.
Nice to see the end of a little bit of security theatre.
Juniors having a good Camp Perry. Sweet bunch of kids, all getting along. Nice to see, though we bring kids to Camp Perry and don't expect them to act like juniors. Sometimes they do.
Famous shooters walking around. Billy Atkins. R. Lee Emery with the Hornady Team. National Champions. I interviewed Billy about his ancient Distinguished Riflemans Badge standing in front of the trophy named for him in the NRA Trophy exhibition. To be posted on the Blackfork Channel on Youtube.
Shaved by mistake before I came up, which actually helps my cheek-weld on the rifle. I'm growing it back by request of the redhead. Back to normal by the time I get home.
Lots of Bullfrog Block on the range. So far I have avoided being sunburned.
Crowd changing as the State Team matches start wrapping up and the Games folks roll in. I hear they restocked the CMP North store with M1 Carbines. Just remnants there the other day. Need another trip to see the carbines and steal some pens.

Long Day on Viale Range

Team Day during CMP week. (Civilian Marksmanship Program) Six-man State and club teams shooting a 50-shot no-sighter match. 10 offhand, standing at 200, 200 sitting rapid fire, 300 yard prone rapid fire and 600 yard slow fire prone. All with those evil black rifles.
The Texas State Rifle Association had two teams, one entered and one out-of-competition team. The gold team shot well standing at 200, averaging 95 (out of 100). We were third going to the 600 yard line, but didn't shoot well there.
Wonderful weather and a very clear and scenic day on the range. The CMP is flying a barrage balloon next door and we would look at it, the flag on the beach of Lake Erie, the range flags and the mirage. I pair-fired with Justin Utley. Steady guy. We came out about where we usually come out. 5th civilian team overall.
Tonight was the dinner that Charlie Wallis hosts for Texas shooters at Mon Ami restaurant in Port Clinton, Ohio. Probably 70 Texans, heavily-armed and far from home, showed up to eat. It's really interesting to see all the faces, meet and compare notes and hear all the stories.
I'd hate to pay the ticket, especially with the juniors loading up on appetizers. I tried the drunken clams, who turned out not to be drunk, but dead. Steamed to death apparantly. Not bad.
I had the new junior shooters come forward and take the Camp Perry oath, (made up on the spot) with one hand on TSRA coach Dick Curry's head.
No pen day. We shot and went back to the fish camp to clean up and get ready for Mon Ami.
Tomorrow we get to play Infantry Trophy. Third relay. Six shooters firing at eight silhouettes at 600, 500, and 300 yards with 50-second target exposure. 384 rounds per team. Much fun.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hearst Doubles with Justin Utley.

Not much talking but lots of shooting and watching the wind. I didn't shoot very well but Utley shot up a storm- 295 out of 300, and we finished the same place as last year: 10th overall. I shot a 281. Probably a couple hundred teams.
It was the first time we have gotten rained on, which is a Camp Perry tradition. Just spit this time, though I've evacuated the range soaking wet under a thunderstorm in previous years.
The Juniors shot the Whistler Boy Match today on Rodreigez while we were shooting Hearst on Viale. Girl teams have won the Whistler Boy the last couple years and taken to calling it the Whister Girl. There is a skirt on the trophy at present. Not kidding.
Big crowd on Commercial Row as the Garand and Vintage Rifle folks show up for those matches. State Teams tomorrow and Infantry Trophy on Friday. Lotta shooting to go.
Hearst was 30 rounds, 10 standing, 10 at 300 yards, rapid fire and 10 slow fire at 600. Utley has refined taciturn to an art. Nice to be around a real Texan. 295 is pretty dadgum good shooting. His group at 300 prone rapid was about three inches in diameter. I was coaching and kept my mouth shut.
Rock River quit leaving pens out on the table. Conspiracy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Camp Perry, Where Men Come to Live Like Animals.

Was just off the range and 600 yard line. Pushed into a crowd outside Rock River Arms on Commercial Row for the sixth RR Hot Dog. Sweaty, grimy, tired, unshaven, sunburned, heavily armed men all standing around the condiment table squeezing mustard and relish on seared pork by-products.
Feels like REAL America.
Shot very well today but made a disasterous boneheaded mistake- put the windage on wrong at 300 rapid fire. Very interesting mistake. I'm already Distinguished, hoped for a good score I won't get, but my wind reading was pretty good and the zeros are holding up.
Presidents 100 I didn't shoot well, anywhere. Really rough. So, two expensive days shot to Hell, but I've had a hotdog and filched a couple of pens so I feel energized.

Nobody is shooting praticuarly well except 17 year old Katie Foster. She just shot a personal best 480 out of 500 to get her first LEG points toward a Distinguished badge. Good stuff!
Utley and I were tenth last year in the Hearst Doubles. We'll try again tomorrow. Maybe our apples will line up.
Nice guys on the firing point yesterday and today. Several thousand people here shooting. We had a virtual new guy today and Lance Dement- an Army Marksmanship Shooter was next point over. Lots of folks around with unbelievable experience and skills. Our new kid is going to the Marines this fall.
Lots of video interviews and footage coming. Haven't seen the kid but I would bet he hasn't used a molecule of sunblock. He's probably a little indian kid now. Might not recognize him.
After I got off the range I went and had triggers weighed on the K31, 1903, A3, and Garand. We'll be ready for Vintage Rifles.
Eagles. Canadian Geese walking around in front of the targets. Groundhogs. Was in the pits for the Presidents 100 with a fish biologist from Florida who is an amature birder. He knew his birds. We saw the swifts drive and owl out of the bushes behind Rodriegez Range.
Spending has slowed way down since we have bulked up on powder and supplies. Screw that Hazmat charge. Gas prices are dropping even up here. Sub 3.50 on the interstate.
Back to commercial row. Let me close by just saying: Guns, Guns, Guns, Guns, Guns.
Update: Last night Utley and Hess took Foster to zoom around on the go-kart track. Might send them out again tonight. Katie gets to pick tonights dinner site. Anything to keep Dick Curry from picking. Crows Nest is the place. We've never eaten there.
Katie's first LEG points. 10 points at the National Matches. Away from everyone over on Viale Range so none of her adopted unlces were "advising" her.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Operation: Steal CMP Pens.

Forget the shooting, the travel or the incessant Garand fondling, the real reason to come to the National Matches is to steal ballpoint pens from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
Of course, they are willing accomplises- they GIVE you a pen or two, but I'm talking bulk thefts- pens in the double and triple digits. I was worried when we came out through the CMP North store metal detector NOT because I thought Utley might have an 03 down his jeans, but because I was afraid the nine or ten pens I had in my underwear might set of the alarm and get me dragged down by those blue shirted overweight guys who sell rifles up here.

Made it.

Note to self and anyone: NEVER, repeat, NEVER go to the squadded practice. They have been out there four hours now shooting 30 rounds and the remnants are beginning to straggle back to the 600 yard line on Rodreigez Range. It looks like the vestiges of Picketts charge coming back to the treeline after the yankees shot them to shit at Gettysburg. Few survivors, and the ones who made it aren't all that happy.

Off to Rock River. They have nice unwatched pens on all the counters up there as well.
From Commercial Row, Springfield Armory.
Presidents 100 starts tomorrow.
Update: Presidents 100, Next Year! Sucked!
Update: Compensating by stealing more pens! It's an Ohio Pen Spree!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Camp Perry

Arrived and posting from Commercial Row on the Springfield Armory computer. Very glad to have lived another year and be at the Nationals! Long drive across the country reading all the newspapers. As I noticed last year, lots of griping and news about the government. Not enough money, not enough police, not enough services. Obama will fix it all. Probably.
But meanwhile, the sun is shining, the Kid has just about spent all his money and I drew good ranges and firing positions for the week. Everything ready to go.

It's like Christmas that lasts all week.

UPDATE: It's all a great deal but my credit card was screaming.  Varget is up 20 bucks a jug, Sierra Matchkings have gone out of sight, plus I'm picking up pasters, bricks of Wolf Match Target.  Gets expensive avoiding those useless hazmat charges and shipping.  

  Prices here about as good as they ever get.

  Sixteen team folks here from Texas plus a lot of other stray Texans wandering around.  Great bunch of people, hardly a knothead in the bunch.  Several new people which makes things fun to show them around.  Weather forcast good.

  Stole the first CMP pen I came across at in-processing.   They issued HXP 30-06 for the Garand, Springfield and Vintage matches.  You got HXP even if you were shooting a Swiss K31.

  Tomorrow is squadded practice- ten rounds standing at 200, 10 sitting rapid and 10 at 600.  Voluntary.  I may make video instead.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Newspapers Across Mid-America

  Tomorrow morning we start traveling to Camp Perry.  It's a two-day trip.  We'll be just south of Louisville, Ky in a motel tomorrow evening, God willing.  760 miles.

  Rick will be driving his new Chevy truck.  He drives, period.  Rare to get the wheel away from him.  His philosophy is that if he's awake and traveling, he might as well be driving.  I've learned it's a lost argument over the years and just watch the maps and weather and read the papers.

  I read every paper, starting with the Dallas Times Herald, The Tyler Courier Times, Longview, Marshall, Texarkana, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Cleveland, Toledo, Lima...all the newspapers for sale all the way up and all the way back, even the little free shopping guides.  It's different than news on the internet.  There are more local stories.  Local pictures.  Local ads.

  Last year, going and coming I was struck by how many stories of conflict between government and citizens there were.  Town Council members mocking citizens at a meeting in Cincinnati, Police killing an unarmed teen by mistake in Memphis, a corrupt bureaucrat in Little Rock, a church leading a protest in Louisville, swimming pools and libraries being closed because of budget, firefighters on strike for more pay, et, et.  Seemed like most of the stories were about government doing something or not doing something or wanting more money.

  Maybe it will be all sports stories this year.  I've got a pocketful of quarters.  We'll see starting tomorrow.

  After I'm there, I hardly read a thing or have a cup of coffee all week.

  I'm going to try and post from Springfield Armory and their computers during the week.  If not, see you in ten days here and with a bunch of new videos on the Blackfork6 Channel on Youtube.

Daily Deercam

 Resident doe and fawns.  I bet the spots will be faded by the time I get back from the National Matches.

Apex Predators still standing tall.

  Hawks continue to use First Presbyterian Church as their daytime perch.  Looks like an adult on the right and a juvenile on the left.  Nice to have them around the neighborhood.  Some mornings and evenings they can be seen on the base of the steeple on the shady side.  I still don't know where the nest was, but it has to be close.  Perhaps in the big pecan trees on the church grounds.

Vintage Rifles

Gotta love 'em.  1891 Argentine Carbines and a Japanese T44.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Go to the National Matches.

  It's a two-day drive for us to get there from Texas, but if you are within reasonable distance, it's a gunny day trip.   Between Toledo and Cleveland.  Good highways, right on the shore of Lake Erie at Port Clinton.  Turn in between the stone towers and show your Drivers License to get on base.  Drive straight in then turn left to park on Commercial Row or keep going to go to the range parking lots.  During the day there will be long firing lines of people on Viale Range or Rodriegez Range.  You can walk up behind the firing lines and watch.   Go to the CMP North Store, (ask directions on Commercial Row), and sniff a little cosmoline.  Wander Commercial Row and see products you never dreamed of at bargain prices.  Free popcorn and gatorade at Springfield Armory.
  If you are bold you could ride the shuttle to the pits for a relay or go out on the fishing pier and then climb the range control tower on the beach and get an overview.- they are always open and friendly, though they don't get many visitors.  Just ring the doorbell at the bottom of the stairs.
  The match schedule is posted on the CMP page.  State Teams will start shooting Monday for about a week and then the NRA Highpower Rifle Championship followed by the Long Range Championship.  Bring binocs.
  Happy people from all over the nation, plus some international types, all armed to the teeth and banging away.  Absolutely safe, of course.  No doctors and no swimming pools.
  The first year I went, 2001, I was hopping mad/angry that I hadn't gone two decades before.  It's like Mecca for shooters, but with no arabs, better guns and bald eagles.
  Don't tell Obama or the Democrats, or any Republicans you can't vouch for.  101st year at Camp Perry for the Nationals.  Free admission.  Cheap T-shirts and souvenirs.

UPDATE:  Or check the schedule and bring your Garand, Carbine, Vintage, or 1903 Springfield and come shoot THOSE matches.  The CMP issues ammo for everything but vintage and it's 30 shots at 200 yards.  Shouting distance!  You won't be the worst shot there, I guarantee you.
  Don't worry about it!  They will teach you to run targets, (two guys in the pits on each target), and you start with five prone sighters.  All at 200 yards.  Friendly people.  Beginner safe!  Sign up online or check in at Headquarters in the red brick building with arched portico.  Cheap.  Thousands of people shooting.  Eagles!  Free parking!  Cold water!  Many guns!

Browning Highpower extended view

  Slide locked back.

 I love the way these pistols shoot and handle, though they don't carry as well as the perfect CCL pistol, the Glock 19.  Like a lot of Texans, I have a Concealed Carry Permit.

  Oddly enough, I chanced upon an extra barrel weight and screws that a friend of mine owned.  He traded them for a Browning M2 50 Cal headspace and timing tool I found in a pawn shop near Ft Hood, Tx when we were down there teaching the army to shoot.

John Moses Browning Extended Slide Highpower 9mm

  An unusual target Highpower.  This one has been worked over by Cylinder and Slide for accuracy and trigger pull.  I put the Uncle Mike Grips on.  It had Pacs.  It's a nice pistol.  Not quite accurate enough to shoot Centerfire pistol in Bullseye.
  I like Browning Highpowers and have owned several.  That's my car gun, an old Buenos Aires 1961 FN Police Contract gun on top.  Under 200.00 at a gun show a few years back.  I bet those police shot a box of ammo a day.  Rabid dogs, sullen crowds of peasants, traffic control.  Lots of wear on that pistol.  It has tiny old-style fixed sights and shoots left.  At 25 yards you have to hold the 9:00 edge of the black on a 25 yard Bullseye target.  It's nearly reliable.  Both pistols mysteriously have lost their magazine safeties.

I'm a Photo Genius

  Or at least that's what I tell everyone.  This is an image from the Blackfork Bestiary series, with my daughter's hand and our favorite bugs.  Probably ten years old.  Or more.  
  If I can't get the current bugs to co-operate, I'll go to the archives.

  This image was shot from a proof in front of the 5X7 Tri-X negative out of a file box.  It was LOTS of fun using the iphoto retouch tool to zap all the dust.  I blew it up until I was working at the subatomic level.   Forget Spot-Tone, go digital!

  A previous cat brought a cicada inside using mouth-carry.  It sounded like a screaming firework underwater.  Must have been like biting down on a smoke alarm.  Brain rattling.   The cat looked pretty desperate.

Bug Blogging

  I'm running out of time and patience.  I've been failing to get a photo of a cicada coming out of it's shell.  I see the bugs climbing tree trunks at night, but so far, no bloggy goodness.
  In the morning there are shells all over the place.  I am being bug mocked.
  As the story goes, the adults lay eggs in the trees, the eggs fall to the ground, hatch and burrow down to the roots where they find a place to suck sap for 13-17 years.  One night, they dig out, emerging as extremely buggy looking bugs, climb something, come to a halt, break out the back in a really neat hump, flip, lunge and pull move, then hang until their wings pump up and harden and off they go to sing in the treetops, mate and lay eggs.
  The birds are eating them like mad and I even heard one scream last night as a screech owl got it.  White bird lime everywhere composed mainly of Cicada protein.
  Last night I brought one inside so I could see it.  Mine like a big Hackberry out front the best.  I hate to bring them in because they don't do as well inside.  I went to sleep.  It hatched and now I'm left with the common denominator- a Cicada shell.
  Somewhere in the house, a teenage Cicada is getting ready to scare the hell out of the Redhead.

UPDATE:  Found it!  A female.  (Now I'm a Cicada sexer)  Tossed her out the front door and she fired up her wings and hit the trail.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Texas Summer Airgasms

  In Texas, where real people live, it's hot in the summer.  Damn hot.  We compensate by chilling public buildings and private spaces down to the median October temperature, (Fahrenheit, of course) of North Bear Butt, Alaska.  At the mall you can see your breath in June and hang beef halves during July and August.  The secretaries and receptionists sit around in sweaters and leggings with electric space heaters under their desks going full blast.  Outside you could fry eggs on a Lexus but inside it's 47 degrees with a light north wind, 15% humidity and no rain in the forecast.

  This leads to an interesting sensation.  You spend an hour looking for weedeater line or 38D push-up bras at Fauxon Hills Mall and get chilled to the bone.  Then, as you come out of the airlock, past the Mexican teenagers eyeing each other under the portico and walk across the sun-shimmering black asphalt to your baking car you feel an exquisite sensation of invulnerability.   Like an ice cube dropped into the sun.  
  It lasts about eight seconds.  Then you start to sweat.

  I don't know the name of this so I'm working on it now.  No humans in history have ever experienced any sensation remotely comparable, excepting perhaps New England witches burnt during the Little Ice Age where some accelerant was used.

  Airgasm?  Mallgasm?  Freoninment?

  My friend, Iris Davis noticed this phenomenon back in the 80s, when the Little Texas Central Air Conditioning Ice Age spread North from Houston where it began in the late 50s.   I don't think she has a technical or cultural name for it either.

An Elegant lady

 Doe checking the overhanging scent-branch at the cam.  I found this location when it was a huge scrape back in the brush just under the edge of the bluff over the creek.  I've run a camera here for four years.  I used corn to hold the deer for a minute while they get their picture made.   Lotta corn over the seasons.  I put out a gallon milk-jug at a time, usually every third day.  Still no bucks in velvet for the first year in four.  That's a surprise.  I bet the buck herd shows up in August.  At this time of year they are all together somewhere.

Coon Cam

 Eight Raccoons eating my deer corn.  I'm all for supporting your local wildlife, but this is too much.  Time to turn on the trap and start reducing them.  

TSRA National Match Team, 2006 or so.

  Usually when this many armed Texans get together there is a war on or a major crime in progress.  Just seems like a nice time to run this.  Can't wait to take nearly this same photo with this years bunch.

Monday, July 21, 2008

2009 TSRA Calendar

  My friend Alan, without whom, few things would be possible, such as the calendar, free gun show entries and doe-tagging, brought over a rare, old, expensive shotgun and we wrapped the TSRA Calendar for this year.  We even got his Dad's quail hunting coat in it.
  I'm sending 15 shots and six backgrounds.
  Thanks Alan.  We'll start again in a few months.

  I'm going running.  Still heat-hardening for Camp Perry.

Camp Perry Convoys, First Wave

 Juniors are leaving tomorrow.  They usually hit the Air Force Museum at Dayton or the Corvette Museum.  This year I think they get a day at Cedar Point.  Next they take the Small Arms Firing School or the Marine School at Camp Perry.  They are shooting when we roll in on Saturday.

  Shot a little offhand and some sitting groups with the Kid.  His mom is packing him now.  I drilled him in how to say: "Do you have any free stuff for Juniors?" in three languages.  Also: " I love shooting offhand!" and, "Can I have that CMP pen?"

  Rehearsed the proper response for:

   Let's go moon the Oklahoma Junior Team!
   Let's hide in the showers in the girls bathroom! 
   How about we set fire to the dumpster!
   I know, lets go down to the fishing pier at midnight! 
   The North Carolina team left three beers in their cooler, lets swipe them!
   Let's photograph your butt and phonemail it to that hot girl on the California team!
   I found someones Kodiak!  Let's chew!

  The correct response to all the above is:  No thanks.  I love shooting offhand.  Can I have that pen?  Do you have any free stuff for Junior shooters?

  The TSRA puts a lot of money into Junior Teams.  Now we have to sweat that they go to the Nationals and don't act like juniors.

UPDATE:  And they are OFF!  Met TSRA Junior Team Director Stan Jaroz and his convoy at Mt Vernon and tossed in the kid.  His dad met us there and they got the team talk from Stan.  I'm sure most of them are asleep somewhere in Arkansas right now, at about 76 mph.

UPDATE 2:  They are in a motel in Tennessee.  Jackson maybe.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Barn Swallows

 Here's the mom hovering just off the nest.  Everyone wants to be fed.

  Emmatree used a detail out of the other Barn Swallow photo in her Sunday Painting.  Here's the other photo we talked about.

Double Deer

  A detail showing the fawns.

Daily Deercam

  Two fawns and a doe.  NOT the same doe as the one below, this girl is younger and in much better shape, even with two fawns.  Can't tell the sex on the fawns yet, though they look healthy.  Other files show six raccoons cleaning up the corn.  About time to clean up the coons, though it may wait until after the National Matches.

Barn Swallow

  Cliff, Tree, Bank, Cave, Rough-Winged, and Tree Swallows...don't even get started on the Swifts and Martins!

  This is a Barn Swallow and nest.  Four Youngsters and two adults coming and going under a porch.   This is the fourth year of this nest- count the different colors of mud layers.  Voracious bug-eating birds, though they do leave a mess under the nesting sites.  Put up with it, because they migrate and are as Federally protected as an FBI agent.

  I promise, I didn't even talk to them.

  The Redhead is house sitting for a client and these guys have set up home under the front porch.  I went out to play Eliot Porter.  The flash is fast but not fast enough to quite freeze mom in flight.

  I assume the youngsters return to nest near where they were born so this porch may fill up.  At Ft. Wolters, near Mineral Wells,Texas the army rifle ranges have hundreds of yards of Cliff Swallow gourd-shaped mud nests lining an overhang along the old concrete berm wall.  When you walk behind the wall the swallows unload from the nests in front of you and reload behind in a cloud of swirling birds.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Butt Biting

  And you thought you had a bad day.

  I don't know how this green anole got away from whatever tried to eat him, but it must have been damn close.  He didn't look that well but he did some push-ups and tried to inflate his red neck sack a couple of times.

  Nervy.  And lucky.  It did a number on his tail, pelvis, ribs....basically everything behind his ears. 

  Do Lizards get religion after a close call?

  In the Target Pits at Panola on the pit wall that is famous for being home to Texas Rat Snakes.


  This is what practice looked like at about 10:00 at the Panola County Gun Club.  I'm at the 300 yard line to shoot prone rapids.  You can see the target numbers behind the berm in the distance.
  The mat rolls up, the scope legs fold and everything, including cased rifle, goes on the cart so you can roll down the range or to the next yardline.  At Perry, Viale Range is 1000 yards long, so it's an 800 yard roll from the parking lot to the 200 yard line where you start.
  I shot 600 Bullseye target with one rifle, (Betsy)  Infantry Trophy (at 600) with the other, walked down and shot IT at 500, then 300 to shoot some bullseye groups, (back to Betsy), finished at 200 shooting Ricks Garand which will hold the 10-ring.  (we are going to ask to be squadded on the same firing point)  In between I took turns pulling targets.
  Clean up the rifles, shoot a little practice this week.  The team list is out, rides assigned.  Just about ready to go to CAMP PERRY! 

Friday, July 18, 2008

Daily Deercam

 Via the old Moultrie.  It said it's memory was full but there were only 46 images on a 512 card that had been cleared.  Maybe the camera memory is not erasing.  It said there were 298 photos.
  This doe has two fawns with her most of the time.  Range conditions are good but she looks a little worn down.  I can see her backbone and ribs in some of the other views.  Not extreme and probably normal for feeding two fawns.  She's an older doe-look at that long face and developed body.  Lots of experience.
  She was really going at the corn on the cam.
  I jumped two young does coming back from the cam.  I THINK they were laying down in the tall grass in a field.  I had the wind and they didn't bolt until I was close.  I went and looked but couldn't convince myself that I was finding beds.
  Not one buck in velvet yet, and they are growing horns by now.  Odd year.  Normally, I have seen most of the bucks by this point in the summer.

Bush Derangement Syndrome

  I know it's late, but I think I have caught a bad case of it.  He lifts the executive order on drilling the Continental Shelves....but where the hell has he been for 8 years?  Why not do this nearly a decade ago?  Congress has to renew their ban annually.  I would have beaten them to death with it until the horizon didn't fill up with rigs because they were OVER it.
  And why isn't oil flowing from ANWR?  He could have bully-pulpited this until it got done, gone up there in the dark and held news conferences surrounded by the locals who want it.   Instead, he made a little effort, gave up, and segwayed off to Camp David.
  Nukes?  Anyone?  Anywhere?  Nope.  China is building 100 plants, because even the heathen Chinee realize that a robust economy has to have cheap, available, plentiful power.  Instead, he (and late, as usual, even doing the WRONG thing), pumps up ethanol idiocy.  If the Iowa caucus was in June, we would have never heard of this expensive government scam.
  Guns?  Thanks for the help.  Instead of educating the public and taking a firm stand on the Bill of Rights he waffles around.  Screw you, W, and the assault weapons ban you would have signed.
  And thanks for the TSA.  That's helped.  They catch those terrorists every day!  Or no.  Maybe they just hassle grandma and make a list with a million folks on it.
   Holding hands with Saudis instead of securing the border.  Nice job!
  Just suppose he had vetoed the Republicans earmarks and driven them to balance the budget, raised holy hell until SS was fixed and privatized, refused to shred the BOR, sealed the border, drilled, built nukes, supported conservative Repubs and surged Iraq as the war ended, plus flattened and dug out the Iranian bomb program?  He could have sent one carrier group to seize and shoot Mugabe while he was at it, just to pinch the liberals.
  Would he be any LESS popular?  Or more?
  Remember his promise to veto McCain-Feingold?  He could have shaken the BOR in their faces and double-dog dared them to over-ride his veto.  (but no, he might loose SUPPORT, politically)
  Instead, he lied.  And STILL lost support.
  And that fabulous Karl Rove....making a mint on Fox billed as "the Architect"  Give me a break.  He's the architect of the destruction of the Republican Party.  What a genius.  Rove lost the Senate, the House, and is going to lose the presidency.  Nice job, idiot.  You may have ruined the Republic and the last, best hope of mankind.
  And Rove was the BRAINS behind this debacle.  
  Hannity lost all credibility with me when he hired him.  Rove is the guy Hannity USED to rant and rail about as the Republicans wimped out.  
  Rove and Bush, two selfish, dumb, short-sighted, satchel-assed sons-of-bitches who failed humanity when they had a real chance to make a difference.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

10/22 Love

 Breda thinks it's love but it's only lust.....gun lust.

  I know the symptoms.  I have to get over them a couple times a quarter myself.  My college buddy, the Good Doctor Sneed went doe-tagging with me last fall when he owned NO rifles and now, less than a year later, (shot seven deer I think) he owns five rifles,( one of them a very custom made 270), a pistol and has his CCL.

  Gun lust.  It's an ugly thing.

  Here's a 10/22 my father bought me back in the mid sixties.  It has a four digit serial number.  I've got it in a Hogue overmolded stock.  The barrel is now a Titan Match barrel from Sportables.  It's got a lot of Volquartzen trigger group and receiver parts. (also Sportables, though Midway has them too.)  On top is a BSA 8-32 Platinum scope.  Too much, but you can see your bullet holes at 100 yards.  (It had the highest customer rating of all the cheap BSA scopes.) Groups under an inch at 100 with Wolf Match Target.  The sling is one I bought in Junior High.  Turns out it was a surplus Thompson Machine Gun sling.   The cheekpiece is a field expediant add-on.  Tape and closed-cell foam.

  I use this as my guest and kid gun.  Great rifle that no one should be without.  If I ever get a suppressor, this is one of the rifles it's going on.  Here I am shooting it and explaining benchrest technique.

  Fun to shoot.  My stock barrel was never much good, even new.  I didn't know it when I was a kid, of course.  I just shot away.  Rarely had a jam or misfire.  It spit up it's extractor a few years ago and I sent it back to the factory and they fixed it at no charge, not even return shipping.

  By the way:  Thanks, Dad.

Update: Mike and Breda are welcome to borrow this, of course.  All they have to do is get in touch.  I'll be right down the road at the National Matches in about a week.

Update I: It is a lotta scope, but five inches on the front is sunshade.

Update II: Yes you do.  You do get gun lust when you are gunless.

The Kid

  Kid around the block- the 13-year old son of some friends of mine got interested in Highpower rifle shooting last year.  The TSRA loaded him a rifle, (a brand new Rock River National Match AR15), through the junior program, I made the ammo and coached and next Wednesday he is going to be tossed into an SUV full of other Texas Juniors and go to Camp Perry.
  We went out and shot a little sitting and standing at 200 this morning.  He's not very tight standing but his sitting is coming together.  He shot in the 90s including a 97X3.  We'll get two more practices before he goes to the National Matches.
  Oh, the TSRA pays his way, his housing, his food, his match fees and gives them a little allowance to walk around Camp Perry during this ten day trip.
  Is this a great vacation for a kid or what?


 There is a whole series of these happy guys.  Mostly unexhibited, though there are a few prints in collections and museums.  Never had a show of the whole series of magic trick images or showed them around much.  Most of them unprinted proofs.  A few palladium contact prints.

Update: Amen

Minimum Still Life

  Here's what I consider a reasonable amount of life in a still life.  This isn't painting, you's photography, and one of the building blocks is the Moment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008



Dice and ice.

 This doesn't look like much, but it's the start of a still life idea that I have high hopes for.  I anticipate shooting it with my 5X7 and B&W in the studio with a dark background, but you never know.  I might go digital and use a little color.
  I'm learning a lot about freezing things.
  Still life has to be alive in some way.  Otherwise, why not just exhibit the assemblage itself?  I've got a whole series of  gyroscopes with burning candles melted to them, balanced on taunt strings.  That's an uninvestigated skill-set.

TSRA Team Load for Infantry Trophy

 I load the 5.56 ammunition for the Texas National Match Team Infantry Trophy match.  384 rounds a team, two teams.  Plus the practice ammo.  It adds up to about 1200 rounds.  At Camp Perry, when they call the team to the line for IT a judge counts our ammo at a table behind our firing points and then we can load it into magazines.
  384 rounds a team shot at 600, 500, 300 and 200 yards.  Targets are exposed for 50 seconds at each yardline.  The team starts at 600 so the coach has to make a perfect wind call and nobody can miss.   Each shooter shoots approximately 64 rounds.
  4 points a hit at 600, 3 points at 500, 2 points at 300, 1 point at 200.  At each yardline you get the number of targets with at least six hits, squared as a bonus.  Hit all eight targets and you get 8X8, or 64 bonus points.  
  The winning team will have very few misses and square all the targets.  Six guys shoot at eight targets, so you have to have a fire plan for each yardline.
  I'm packing the ammo in cans now.  We stripper-clip the rounds for easy counting and loading.  I include stripper/mag spoons in the can along with sacks to pick up brass and a copy of the fire plans based on amount of wind.  Rick Crawford also includes stainless steel rulers that you can insert into your 30 round mag to see how many rounds are loaded.
  Our team load is a 77 Sierra bare Matchking on 25 grains of Varget with a CCI 450 small rifle primer in a Lake City brass case.  I'm loading all the rounds on a single stage press with a hand primer and a Harrell Powder thrower.
  We practice and plan but never shoot very well.  Usually the wind call is off.  Often one shooter is off.  The TSRA team ends up being in the middle of the pack.   All you can do is shoot your shots with the given wind call and not make a mistake or shoot a miss.  
  Team Blackfork, a 3-man team I run during the year is very competitive.  Usually we win.  We shoot a very conservative fire plan with two guys shooting at only their target and one man on the end shooting two targets by himself.  (the "swing".)  50 seconds to shoot 24-28 rounds is plenty of time to shoot well and not miss.  600 and 500 are shot prone.  300 is shot sitting and 200, if needed, is standing.  200 is only worth one point a hit so you try to shoot all the ammo at 600, 500 and just enough to square the targets at 300.
  Infantry Trophy is one of the traditional matches at Camp Perry.  It's a thrill to shoot it and walk downrange in a line following the flag to the next firing line.  Some teams shoot Garands and even bolt-action 1903 Springfields.  It's the last team match that gets shot during Civilian Marksmanship week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Professional Photography in America Today.

  The fast-paced rock 'em-sock 'em professional photo life forged ahead today.  In fact, pretty early today.  I barely had time to grab a cup of coffee when Brady's opened at 7:00m and get to the shoot.  At 7:30 I was in the bowels of a large local institution to get images of a new computer system in action.  End user in Kentucky, local contact, many emails, confirmations, and cell phone messages flying around the ethersphere.  

  There is always a problem in a photo shoot.  You know it's there, you just don't know WHERE it's coming from.  Could be equipment.  Could be weather.  Could be drunk company reps.  Anything.  But it's going to be SOMETHING.  You just watch for it.

  Recently I was on a shoot for a new luxury hotel.  Ad agency in Washington state, designers in California.  Developers here.  The designer PDFed the layout featuring a verdant landscape flowing down to the waters edge.  I get out to the site and its a brushy, overgrown, mosquito-plagued dump with vehicles inexplicably shuttling to and from a deserted ruined playground.  The road in had become famous as un area de axion maxima for (get this) gay, illegal aliens.  Flamboyantly coiffed latios in flip-flops and tank tops standing around on the rubble, waving down the next car while swacking mosquitos.  Just to get over the curb you needed a shotgun, deep-woods OFF and a machete.

  I shot from the ground, water and air and never found a verdant view.

  Back to this morning- I'd questioned the contact like he was under indictment about WHO was going to be my model.  All I needed was one gloved hand but I pushed him like I was shooting poolside bathing suits.  This person had to LOOK professional.  No 305 lb nurses aides with aching feet that were going to be fired tomorrow.  I needed a squared-away representative of the professional work force.  He assured me that he had JUST the person.

  She looked appropirate-gowned, scrubbed and gloved- and all I needed was a fingertip.  Funny thing though, I couldn't seem to get that fingertip going.  I needed that fingertip to ACT!  Point here!  Touch there!  The glove was all bunched on it and I couldn't seem to describe the projection I wanted.  Finally I reached up to adjust it and show her what I needed......

  And she didn't have a finger under the glove.  Amputated.

  All I needed was a joint and a half.....and I get a model missing two joints and a half.  She was a trooper, but I couldn't work around an air finger.

  Going back this afternoon.  Never thought I would have to count digits on a hand model, but there it is.

  There's always a problem in a photo shoot.  You just never know where it's coming from.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nom de Internet

  I was sudsing my jacksons when she pulled the shower curtain back with the neck of a Corona.

  How about "My Woman?" she queried.  It sounded a little neo-anderthal to me but one thing I knew for sure: That was the last beer in the house.

  The blogosphere is full of happy couples.  Rachel has her Rupert.  Insty has the Instawife and Instadaughter.  Kim has the Mrs.  Sayuncle has another Mrs.  (Surely not the same)  Breda, (Beowulfs friend?) has Mike.   From Mike-istan.   and Tam seem partner-free, though I have the suspicion that many who washed ashore in their kingdom have been cooked and eaten.  I can't imagine that eco-niche staying empty too long.  Snowflakes in Hell?


  The Redhead and I run a happy household in a happy neighborhood.  With, like...neighbors and all.  We know the neighborhood and are known.  We can walk to our businesses.  Clockwise from the South we have White Trash, Doc, Billions, Yellow Cat People, God, Nat, A.C., A.C.'s wife. Genius Dan and the Gay Policemen.  Debbie-lebbie (emmatree) is downstairs.  I can walk into Taco Wacko, (Actually named: Los Guerros, after the plumbers that own it),  a couple blocks over, stand at the counter without speaking and they will prepare my order perfectly.  At Brady's Coffeeshop, I stroll in with paper under arm, pump my own coffee and make a handsign at Megan the countergirl.  The handsign means: Cinnamon-raisin bagel, heavily toasted with cream cheese and double peach preserves.  She gets it.  If it's busy when I leave I just walk out and we settle up later.

  Red and I communicate in our own language of nicknames, baby names, pet names, abbreviations, gestures, hand signs, clicks, eye rolls, pidgin-redneck, ebonics and Tarzan Spanish.  It's not like we can't think up a name.  Jar-jar and the Jerk, (lawyers) at the coffee shop.  Pathetic Bill.  Ten Jaguar.  The Other Genius.  Big Tipper. I can say "Do you want lunch at Bluh or bluh-bluh?" and she'll wrinkle her brow and then say: " Bluh.  We ate at Bluh-Bluh last week and the quacamole was salty."

  Full disclosure: We could be convicted of hate crimes three times a day for our ruthless parodying of people in modern life.  The secret is, we speak our private language as impenatrable as Bushman.

  Upin neyar.  Ova Deah.  Whey Ova Deah.

  So, a name.  I get to be Blackfork.  She gets to be....

  The Redhead.  (using it now.)
  Li-Li.  (sounds like a captive Panda.)
  Big K.  Special K.  The K.   KK.  Li-K.
  My Woman.  (please.)
  The She.  The Her.  The Fabulous.  (too gay)
  SIGOT.  (Significant Other, from Always-lovable Michael, Emma Tree.  Too tactical.)
  The One.  (Obama already has it.)
  The Chick.  The Girl.  The Girlfriend.  The Fiance.  Podner.  
  It's a struggling, name-that-partner Monday!  

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Suicide Saturday Afternoons

  This week was a scenic tour.  My nephew's ex-girlfriend, who maliciously caused much legal grief...shot herself.  About a year late, if she was going.
  A guy I knew of, and had photographed for a major client, killed his wife with a baseball bat and then hung himself.  In the storage shed.
  The Redhead's classmate in an Austin Pilates seminar had a fight with her boyfriend and hung herself in the house they were housesitting.
  Much drama.  Kids.  Dogs.  Families.  Patients.  Students.  Neighbors.  Churches.  Clients.  All left behind.
  I get in from the range, the Redhead gets in from the health food store and we make a deercam run, hit the gas station.  Dairy Queen for chocolate dipped cones in the slanty late light.
  Kill yourself in the workweek and miss.... the gift of a nice lazy Saturday afternoon. 
  God preserve and save us from next week.

Swiss and Springfield

  Today at the Longview Gun Club.  This photo reminds me that I need to go ease the firing pins down on both these good rifles.

Celebrate your Garand!

  Maybe it just needs more grease.

Practice Run

  Met Alan at the Longview Gun Club and Range to shoot my National Match rifles and get the old ones squared away.  Early in the week at Camp Perry we will shoot the Presidents 100, the CMP/EIC Match, The Six-Man Bullseye Team Match, the Hearst Doubles and finally Infantry Trophy.  After Infantry Trophy on Friday I take my 1903A3 and head for Viale Range and the Springfield 03 Match which will be in progress.  Saturday morning we all get up, pack up the Garands and go shoot the Garand Match.  Saturday Afternoon I shoot the Vintage Rifle Match.  Sunday we shoot the M1A Match.  Lots of matches with wood-stocked firearms.
  The course of fire for all these rifles is 30 rounds at 200 yards.  You fire five sighters, then shoot for score:  10 prone slowfire in ten minutes.  10 prone rapid fire in 90 seconds.  10 standing offhand in ten minutes.  The targets are pulled and marked after each slowfire shot or each rapid fire string.  Ammunition is issued.  Last year we shot Greek 30-06 HXP.  Good enough.
  At the Longview range I sat down and shot my newly rebarrelled AR at 200 and 300 rapids, to check the zeros.  No warm-up.  Everything looks good at 200 and 300 yards.
  Then I shot my 1936 Swiss K31 prone, shooting five shot strings at 200.  The last string was five Xs.  That Swiss rifle is an amazing firearm.  If it had a peepsight with adjustable windage on the back, folks would shoot them as service rifle guns.  I've won the Texas Championship with K31s the last two years but never shot Vintage Rifle at the Nationals.  Hope to shoot well.
  Pulled out the 1943 1903A3 Springfield next and got the sling and sights set for 200 yards.  It shoots OK at 200.  Hard to keep them all in the ten ring.  I think I was 12th last year at Perry with my 03, and I had a very rushed prone rapid string when my stripper clip wouldn't strip.  285X6. (out of 300 possible)
  Pulled out the  '43 Garand and it isn't shooting at all.
  It doesn't gauge well, muzzle or throat, but I won the Texas Championship with it and was 55th last year at Perry with it.  (Still got the trigger weight tape on it in the photo) I don't know how, because it hardly holds the black.   I was off to 9:00 and clicked over one click and was out at 3:00 on the far other side of the black.  It shoots three touching holes in the nine ring and then moves somewhere else.  I meant to have it rebarrelled this year but now it's too late.
  I have a couple of spare unfired Garands.  Might try and see how they group.  Prone at 200 you ought to be able to shoot 98-100 with a Garand.
  At the National Garand Match last year if you shot 277 or above (the Gold medal level) they checked your Garand or 03 to make sure it was legal.  No bedding, no National Match parts.  We watched several folks get disqualified.  I got the impression that most of them didn't know the rules.
  My Garand and 1903 are CMP guns, rack or field grade.  They still bleed cosmoline.  I shoot them in two matches a year and carried them deer hunting just to be perverse.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Blackfork6 Channel on Youtube

  There are lots of NRA Highpower Rifle Match Videos, Distinguished Rifleman Badge Videos and Improving Your Shooting Videos on the Blackfork6 Channel on Youtube.

  It also gives me another chance to use one of these really cool pen and ink illustrations from the 1943 Basic Field Manual for the US Rifle, Caliber .30, M1917. 


  The incomperable SayUncle linked to Dry Run.  Here's a little automotivation  response with my Standard Products Carbine.
  I have a different feeling about my military rifles after I actually used them in hunting and competition.  We're like...bonded.

Alamo Sword

  A sword from the Mexican Army that invaded Texas in 1836 is going to be auctioned.  There's speculation that it might have been used at the Alamo but I think that's really hard to confirm.  Pretty interesting to see this kind of stuff crop up.  Texas historians say they are surprised that something like this is just becoming known for the first time.

  The painting above is part of a fresco found under layers of paint and wallpaper in a Tyler Mansion that was built in the 1880s.

UPDATE: Link with photo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Snake Run

  Dashing to the lake for a quick burn pile and deer cam run I passed this rolled out Southern Copperhead on the lake road.  Copperheads are usually in pairs so I got out and scanned the bar ditches.  Nothing.
  I usually let them go by.  Lots of snakes in the ecosystem out here, and if they aren't in the yard or near a deerfeeder I give them a pass.  It's an adult thing- when I was a kid we hunted cottonmouths barefoot with .22s in the sandy swamp behind the dam and shot up anything without legs.  (except Hognosed snakes.   Those went home to be pets.)
  Usually you could SMELL them.  I smelled a really rank cottonmouth at the creek crossing when I was checking deercam #2 recently.  Never saw him but he was very close.
  Non-poisonous always get a pass.  Last season big Chicken Snakes were breeding in the boathouse.  Weird.  They were draped along every rafter and oar.  No, I wasn't mistaken in my identification, but I did stay the hell out of the boathouse for a week.
  We have them in the target berm wall at Panola County Gun Club.  The general consensus is to leave them alone.  
  When I was a kid we used to spend a couple weeks at my uncles lakehouse on Lake Jacksonville.  All the cousins would rotate through.  A bunch of us were 10-13.  We swam, mostly, and boated around doing lake stuff.  At night we would watch for big fish under the light my uncle hung over the water at the end of the pier. 
  I don't think we used insect repellant once, though I can't remember being bitten.
  They bought us trident frog-gigs, (probably a felony now) and we would snorkel around trying to skewer a perch.  Perfect summers.
  My cousin and I were snorkeling along the shore in about three feet of water.  He was one of my cool cousins who I had been raised with early, then they moved to town.  I had the lake side and he had the shore side and we were looking for perch to jab.  All of a sudden he went thrashing and boiling away toward the grassy close-cut lawn shore.  I stood up and pushed my mask up on my head.  It actually looked like he was RUNNING on top of the water, like Jesus doing aerobics.  He made the lawn, about 20 yards away, turned around and shouted back to me "THERE'S A SNAKE OUT THERE!" 
  I eased my mask back down, sank below the surface and did a 360 on one toe, holding my little trident-tipped stick out, ready for action.  I think I fanned myself around using my ears.  There was nothing except gravel and some little clumps of lakeweed stretching out into green infinity.   I stood back up:  "Are you sure it was a snake?" I asked?
  "Oh yeah" he reassured me.  "A BIG one!  You're right on top of it!"
  I went back down for a couple of lung-busting rotations.  Nothing.  Minnows.  Dappled sunlight.  Gravel.   I was kind of in a silt cloud by then, so I rowed up current into clear water.
  Nothing.  Two minnows zigg-zagging.
  I gently pushed out toward shore and paddled in using ears and toes, ready to skewer any patch of scaly reptillian skin I saw.  When it got to be about a foot deep I stood up and walked to the grass.
  We never spoke about it then or later and I never trusted my cousin again.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dry Run

 Tuesday morning at about 4:00am the Redhead woke me.  Someone, she said, had just knocked on the front door.
  Our front door isn't the easiest, most direct front door to find, though it is the main door.  It's down a twisting narrow sidewalk.  There are other doors to choose from.  It's up a spiral staircase.  I kill the lights after midnight to save electricity, so it's damn dark.
  I HEAVILY tip the pizza delivery guy who can find it in daylight, much less after sundown.  
  Since I raised a teenager, I'm cranky about phone calls after 9:30, much less visitors.  This neighborhood isn't the best, so we are careful.  And don't nose this around, but I've got a gun in here as well.  Big gun.  Maybe more than one.  And the Redhead will shoot your ass as well.
  So I roll out of bed, grab a good flashlight and pistol.........
  But I loaned the Good Doctor Sneed my pistola so he could shoot his CCL with a .45.  No 220 on the nightstand.
  I'm armed with the Band of Brothers paperback, a remote control, a Midway catalog and a coffee cup full of pens.  There's a glass of water the cat has been drinking out of.  Maybe some toenail clippers.
  I COMPLETELY forget there is a AR Carbine with 30 round loaded clip UNDER the bed.  Completely.  It's wiped from my mind like an old girlfriends birthday.  I think Garand.  I think shotgun.  I rumage around in a pistol box for my match 1911 Les Baer.  No loaded clips, no ammo.  I look out the peephole.  Dark.  Finally I remember my computer room rifle, a Standard Products M1 Carbine with clip on the shelf next to it.  (who could object to being shot with such a fine rifle?)  I stand next to the door, slap the magazine, drop the bolt, hit the outside lights, look, open the door and start sweeping.   Nobody on the landing.  Corner clear.  Yard clear.  Side yard clear, back corner clear.  Treeline clear.  Yard exits clear.
  Nobody nowhere.
  Of course I am doing this a la carte.  No clothes.  Knock on the door at 4:00am and you get a naked, angry man with a metal flashlight zestfully searching the ornamental shrubbery so he can shoot your nocturnal butt with an antique Nazi killer.
  I circle the cars, I orbit the house, I peruse the neighbors holdings.
  The front door is metal.  Knocks on it are distinct.  The Redhead is about as prone to fantasy as a sensible man.

Old Rifles

  Gotta check the zeros and technique on the Garand, Swiss K31 and 1903A3.  Plenty of time.

This is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.

  The Redhead is actually working while I goof off, though I must say, I'm attempting to goof off at an Olympic level.  
  Went to the range and shot 40 rounds, 20 sitting rapid and 20 standing.  At 200 yards.  Rick Crawford's gauge set the front sight assembly right on the X ring.  93 and 96 offhand.   Not so good, but that's a whole different skill set to hone.  National matches in a couple weeks.
  Lunch with step-dad for his birthday.  He's a notorious check-grabber, so on his birthday, he bought his own lunch.  Go figure.  
  Back in the neighborhood both hawks were sitting on the steeple so I pulled out the Kowa 881 to have a 20-60 power look at them from Brady's Coffee.   Looked like a big sub-adult and the hen.  They were sitting on the arms of the cross and looking all over.  Those heads were really turning.    Every once in a while they both would spot the same thing and zoom in on it and bob their heads back and forth.   Cranked all the way to 60 power the Kowa got a little soft, but very crisp backed up to 50 power and below.  Lots of folks at the coffee shop got a look at the hawks.  Most people didn't know they were even around.
  It's hot.  Hot bricks, hot sky, hot air.  I've been running a little to heat-harden myself for those 12 hour days in the sun at Camp Perry in two weeks.   Today is another day for running.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Deer Cams

  I run two deer cams all year- or I did until some thieving, lying, low-down snake stole one last month.  Now I run one.  I have/had Moultries because I could figure out the operating system.  Rednecks are a lot smarter than they might look- if they can figure out how to set up, retrieve and display the digital files off a deercam.
  I use rechargeble batteries and swap memory cards.  The cards come home and get edited on the computer and the good ones saved.  Moultie uses one of my photos on their packaging.
  When deer cams were film-based they weren't worth the trouble.  Since you only had 36 shots, every camera had elaborate picture delay schemes to keep from shooting 36 photos of three coons eating up all your camera corn.  For instance: cam would shoot three shots 30 seconds apart 40 seconds after it saw motion, then shut down for 10 minutes, then look again for motion.  Stoopid.  Now with digital, since I have 1207 photos or so on a 512 card, I could care less about 90 photos of raccoons pigging out.  Raccing out.  Cooning down.  Whatever.  Shoot away.  There will still be plenty of card space left when the next thing shows up.
  All any hunter, from the first apes dropping rocks on warthog babies from the Baobab tree to todays rednecks, want to know is one thing: what is in the woods?  Big bucks?  No bucks?  Bigfoot?  Bears?  I've seen nearly every animal on my cams as I run them through the years.  Since I run year round I see the fawns, the does, the bucks dropping horns, growing them, sparring.  I saw the gaping wounds heal over a months time when we had a cougar in the area, plus all the butt-biting, ear scratching, knee-walking goofy stuff that animals do.
  This afternoon we did a tomato/deer cam run.  138 photos.  Does and spotted fawns, birds, nothing, and raccoons.   Saved two.  Here's an example of does from last year.

UPDATE.  The first commenter gave me a great idea: How come I can't remotely detonate my deercams like a Titan II corkscrewing over Vandenburg?  That would fix those theft problems.  Seems like that system would be off-the-shelf and apply to lots of stealable items. 

Hawks and Squirrels

  This morning when I headed to the studio I noted a fresh killed fox squirrel at the corner.  I wondered if the neighborhood Redtails would scarf it up.  At 11 a buteo as big as a chicken was standing on it. (scroll down and click "older posts" for a photo of our neighborhood hawks.)
  Our neighbors love teacup chihuahuas.  They let their favorite out once to make a backyard run and when they checked on it 20 minutes later a hawk was tearing strips off the dead dog and eating them.  NOT the image one would hope to have of a favored pet.  The guy bought a pellet rifle and lurked in the bushes for a couple of weeks after that, but I don't think he got a shot


  Rachel Lucas has been ranting about opossums and letting her hounds commit marsupialcide all over the central part of the State Of Texas.  All the opossums I meet are laid back, can hiss, fake death, climb trees and are generally a little embarrassed about that marsupial thing.
  It's a little-known fact that possums don't have a very long life span.  2.5 years is about the max.
  This is an image of a big male, (obviously, though his penis seems wired in backwards) possum held by my late nephew, Bobby Joe Langham.  Possums are all show.  If we had put a stick across those teeth it wouldn't bite down.  The gape is fake.
  The males are big and blockheaded, the females built a lot lighter.  I catch them in live traps when I am reducing deercorn-eating coons at the lake.  We see them walk by the window here in town lugging the babies along.  They are about as dangerous as mallards.
  Photo is from a show I did called the Blackfork Bestiary: Images of fellow Texans.  I think this particular photo is a palladium contact print from a 5X7 negative.  It's in several private collections and major museums.
  Rachel, it may be a possum, but this image, matted, is 600.00.

  Update for the Duck:  Most marsupials are pacifists, (now that the Aussie Marsupial Lion is extinct).  You might get a little boxing out of a kangaroo, but only if you are drunk.  My friend the Good Doctor Sneed had a dog that kept dragging a dead possum to the house.  The Doc would take the possum and pitch it over the back fence.  Two hours later Dusty would have brought the carcass back to the porch.  The Doc would go toss it, repeat, toss, repeat.  One day he looked out the window and Dusty and the possum were wrestling, then taking a break to eat dogfood and drink water.  Turns out the possum played dead ever time the door opened.  True story, from Sealy, Texas. 

Monday, July 7, 2008

TSRA at Work

  Driver is a great guy and a good legislator.  I've seen him walk a gun show.  Alice Tripp is a very able lobbiest.  This is what they are doing while the legislature is out of session. 
  This is the same Texas State Rifle Association that is sending me to the National Matches at Camp Perry.  This pistol team and juniors are there now.   I'm shooting calendar photos for the TSRA calendar, right now.  The 1903A4 above is from that series.
  If you are a Texan, you ought to join.  The TSRA is the recognized Civilian Marksmanship Program  state sanctioned organization.  They brought you concealed carry and a revision of several very restrictive and confusing Texas gun laws

El Cap in Yosemite.

  A new record for speed-climbing The Nose, a famous rock climbing route on El Capitan.  If you love Yosemite, this is news.  
  This is crossword-puzzle type info if you ever use any 5.11 gear.  5.11 is an offshoot of Royal Robbins outdoor gear.  Robbins is a famous rock climber who climbed in Yosemite often.  He was best friends with Yvon Chouinard, who decided to try and make a living selling climbing gear through his company, Great Pacific Iron Works.  Chouinard made and sold gear that was hard to find back in the 60s.  One of Yvon's items were Billy Goat Pants- a double-seated short or pants to rock climb in.  Chouinard's clothing line took off and became Patagonia.   Robbins say his buddy getting rich and formed Royal Robbins outdoor gear.  Police started wearing Robbins 5.11 pants and he expanded that line into the 5.11 Tactical company and is making a mint.  
  Not bad for a couple of rock climbing bums.
  I wear RR and Patagonia stuff.  Great gear.  I shoot out of 5.11 pants and even have a very early pair that were made by RR.  Everyone wears this stuff.  There was a box of free, black 5.11 hats at the match on Saturday.  I had a Patagonia catalog in the mail when I got home with photos of extreme climbing and clothes.
  5.11, by the way, is a designation of difficulty for a rock climbing route.  There's your 37 across.
  Photo is from a trip the redhead and I took in 2004 during the winter.  We were in a wonderful snowstorm in the Valley.  The redhead had black ravens flocking in through the snowflakes in to eat whatever she offered.
  I just set a personal record for links.  

Sing For Obama!

  On the list of things I don't understand is why folks are writing songs for Obama but nobody has reworked the Name Game as a tribute to his Barackness.  Paul Shanklin must be on a drunk.

  Come on folks.  Bamalama Bo-bama?  Anyone?

Just saying.

 I took the gunblog photo and my girlfriend has been amazed at my internetz mad skilz and supermapowers ever sintz.

Summer Essence

 In Tyler, its officially summer the FIRST time I think about parking in the shade.  That was a while back now... May probably.
  Summer is here.  No doubt.  Tap water in the darkroom runs 96 degrees out of the cold side.
  Summer does have it's benefits: Free tomatoes.
  James at the lake has his garden in full production.  Tomatoes are flowing off the vines at a rate to make Henry Ford blink.  When I check deer cams I have strict instructions to pick up a bag of homegrown, free, perfect tomatoes.  (and I better check the cams RFN)
  I can follow simple instructions so we have been gleefully feasting on big, ripe, red, free tomatoes.  At 3:42 AM I missed the redhead and found her standing deshabille at the moonlit kitchen sink eating tomatoes.  I like them chilled and quartered, with salt.  She eats them room temp like an apple.
  Yesterdays iron skilleted ribeye was just an excuse to eat more tomatoes.  
  She did ask me if I thought James used pesticides on his garden.  Seriously.  Growing squash, okra, tomatoes and peas in the woods?  Does he use pesticides?  James?
  He probably burns trenches of kerosene around the plot at night to keep the bugs and critters out!  Might spray the rows with Deep Woods OFF!  Perhaps he soaks the ground, roots and leaves with DDT!  Doesn't matter.  Just keep the tomatoes flowing, James old buddy!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

600 Yard plot with Betsy

 22 shots in 22 minutes, prone at 600 yards with Betsy and the new barrel, a Douglas 1/7.7 twist stainless.  The mirage was running right to left and kept building.  I added windage in 1/4 MOA clicks and never got bold enough.  The mirage looked like it was picking up and letting off, reversed a couple of times, (which I waited out), a cloud covered the target, (which I also waited out)

  First sighter with no wind, (S1).  I added 3/4 of a minute and shot a high 10 at S2, then went for score shooting a 9 low, (1).  More carefully for a 10 at six oclock, (2,3,4)  and off to the races.  I plotted each shot after firing the NEXT shot while the target was pulled down in the pits for scoring.

  Started with 3/4 of a minute on and ended with 2 1/4 MOA and was still downwind.

  But at least the shots look rational.  My previous rifle, now busted to practice, loaner and Infantry Trophy gun shot all over at 600 yards. 

  This rifle will tighten up a little as it breaks in.  Still not positive of the no-wind zero since I was shooting in a little bit of drift.